Christian NewsToday

Anglican church informs parishioners of intercourse offender attendee after three years

(RNS) — Church of the Resurrection, an Anglican church that serves as a diocesan seat in Wheaton, Illinois, whose leaders have confronted criticism for the way they dealt with sexual abuse allegations, knowledgeable congregants Friday (Dec. 2) {that a} registered sex offender has been attending the church since 2019.

“We take with utmost seriousness the presence of somebody who has dedicated a major crime and can proceed to indicate excessive care sooner or later,” Church of the Resurrection cathedral dean Steve Williamson wrote in an e-mail to church members.

The church is the headquarters of the Higher Midwest Diocese, a subgroup of the Anglican Church in North America that since 2019 has been roiled by sexual abuse allegations in opposition to a former lay minister within the diocese.

John Hays, a former pastor at a special church, was charged in 2014 with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of his little one neighbor between 2003 and 2009. Records from the Illinois State Police point out that the sufferer was 7 when the abuse happened.

On Thursday, ACNAtoo, an anti-abuse advocacy group, published a post on its web site alerting readers of Hays’ crimes and presence at Church of the Resurrection. A day later, Williamson’s e-mail knowledgeable congregants that it “will not be our coverage to publicly inform the congregation of a parishioner’s previous felony actions” however that church leaders wished to deal with considerations that had been raised about Hays, whom Williamson referred to by first title solely within the e-mail.

Workers and leaders at Church of the Resurrection didn’t reply to requests for remark.

In accordance with the e-mail, which was shared with Faith Information Service, pastors have been conscious of Hays’ felony previous. The e-mail assures readers that church leaders look after abuse survivors however are additionally “dedicated to being a spot the place sinners, even infamous sinners, can belong and encounter Jesus (with applicable safeguards in place).”

In accordance with the e-mail, Hays was permitted to attend the church however was required to be accompanied by a chaperone chosen by church leaders. He was allowed solely within the church sanctuary and narthex and was particularly banned from church occasions “geared towards youngsters.” Williamson’s e-mail additionally asserts that “all pastors and youngsters and youth employees” have been made “conscious of his id, crimes, and the necessities of this coverage.”

In a 2020 post on this subject on her weblog, Diane Langberg, a medical psychologist and abuse skilled with lengthy expertise in Christian communities, stated, “When church buildings have requested what I like to recommend when coping with somebody whose has sexually abused youngsters my response is — don’t enable him/her to attend church.” As an alternative, Langberg suggests an alternate mannequin the place a small group of adults collect with the abuser to hope and worship exterior of church settings.

Kelley Goewey, a former member of Church of the Resurrection who attended from June 2019 till July 2021, labored often in youngsters’s ministry in each paid and volunteer positions. She informed RNS she was by no means knowledgeable of Hays’ felony historical past or the church’s procedures, and solely realized of Hays’ crimes by way of ACNAtoo’s public submit. She thinks congregants ought to have been alerted a lot sooner.

“Given the statistics accessible concerning the charges of recidivism for people who find themselves pedophiles and who sexually assault youngsters, it’s inadvisable to have them take part in a church service when youngsters are current,” she stated.

Goewey added that, with out explaining his historical past, pairing Hays with a well-respected church member as a chaperone may come off as an endorsement of Hays, fairly than a warning. She believes church leaders ought to have labored to discover a center floor that allowed Hays to obtain religious care in a spot the place no youngsters have been current.

Abbi Nye, an ACNAtoo advocate, stated the church’s announcement about Hays “strains up with their sample of prioritizing the safety and luxury of abusers over victims,” Nye stated.

“If Church of the Resurrection chooses to minister to convicted little one intercourse offenders in areas the place youngsters are, they’ve an ethical obligation to tell dad and mom that that is their coverage,” ACNAtoo stated in an announcement to RNS.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button